210 MILLION Books In The World… How Do You Choose “1”?

The number of books in the world is certainly debatable.  According to Google, at one point they figured it be around 210 million.  A report they did in April of 2011 says that count is closer to 130 million.

After sorting for duplicates, meaning that Google does not want to count the same book in two different places twice, there are a stunning 210 million entries to be counted from library and other databases around the world. You have to marvel slightly at that number, even before they cut it some more.

210 million is a big number, but it is not exactly correct. Google then sorts out microfilm, videos, maps, and anything else with an ISBN that has come through its listing process. After all of that final threshing, the number of books, as least as well as Google can count them, is 129,864,880.

No matter how you look at it, the number is GINORMOUS.  (Yeah…. really really BIG).

"Lets just say there are a whole lot of books out there!"



So….. looking at that number and then looking at me, or you for that matter, and our average reading of hmmm…. give or take two or three books MAYBE a week.   Maybe 100 to 150 a year?

Then I looked at how many books are published a day.  Some reports said world-wide up to 2,000 books a day are published.  US alone is publishing between 350 – 800 books a day.

People….. no way are we ever going to catch up.  😯

Sooooooo….my point today is…. how do I (and how do you) choose that next book to read.  As book bloggers, many of us are offered books to review consistently from publishers and authors, and believe me… some of these – many of these offers are great sounding reads.  AND if you are not a book blogger but a lover of books (first of all you are AWESOME!), you as a consumer who buys a book here and there…..

how do you, how do any of us choose?

This is what I want to discuss.  Share how you pick that next book.  For myself, I am a little embarrassed to admit that in my reading room right now there are hundreds of books that are currently unread.  I pick them up at sales, they are my personal library, and yes, there are many that are review books as well.  Yet… when I go in there.  I get to pick “1”.

What drives you to choose a book to read?  Is it popularity?  A topic?  A feeling?  Do you buck the trends and go your own way and read something completely off the charts (perhaps something called The History Of The Paperclip?) 

I want to dish!  Talk to me 😀

58 thoughts on “210 MILLION Books In The World… How Do You Choose “1”?

  1. Sometimes I pick a book because of an obligation – a review or a book club pick. Sometimes I pick a book because I’ll be going to an event for the author. Other times, it’s just whatever strikes my fancy at the time.

    1. I feel like I am always two to three books behind….either in what I want to read, or what I should be reading for book club or a tour. The opportunity of course, is they are all books I want to read. 😀 I am currently on a Titanic kick and have three books I had hoped to have read before today. Did not happen …. *sigh*

  2. Right now my choices are: the book I need to do a blog tour for by Friday, the book I need to read for book club on Thursday, the book I just bought to do a read along with, and the books I somehow checked out of the library! Some day I want to get back to reading THE BOOK I JUST happened to pick up and read it! 🙂

  3. Wow I was just thinking about this very question – especially when it related to book blogging and here’s what I decided. For audiobooks – those are my freebies – I look at what is available “now” and pick something I’ve either heard of before, or just looks good. For the physical books – I love a good list & following book awards. So I selected a few awards whose books I would like to read between the announcement of the shortlist & the actual presentation of the award, and that’s what I’m going in. But, I like variety, so naturally, sometimes I’ll just pick books I hear about.

  4. I am definitely a mood reader. I typically want to read a book when I am in the right mood for it. However because I also have library books, I try to read those before they are overdue! Each week, I use your It’s Monday meme to help me put together my potential list for the week. I look at my library account to see what books are due soon (or overdue) as well as review books to see if there is something I should be reading and I also try to add books that I am in the mood to read. I like variety so if I have a particularly dark or heavy story, I try to balance it with something funny if I can.

    Sometimes none of the books on the list work and I put them aside for something else. I find that if I am not in the right mood for a book, I won’t enjoy it. I was trying to read Chevy Stevens and Tess Gerritsen this week but realized I needed something funny to ease the stress of my work week instead 🙂 Sadly I too have many many unread books on my Kindle and stacks of books for review as well as a small pile of library books to get through. Hopefully the Dewey Readathon will help me make a dent!

    As far as deciding what books go on my TBR list/pile, I try to choose a blend of books that appeal to me (fantasy, historical fiction, YA fiction, some romance) as well as those that are popular. I also try to read across genres. As a librarian, it is important for me to at least be aware of major books even if I don’t have time to read them (or the desire in some cases)! I read Shelf Awareness, check out the NYT bestsellers and Amazon bestsellers, and sometimes pick what I read that way (like Home Front by Kristin Hannah, which I loved). I don’t feel the need to read every book on those lists though (Fifty Shades is not for me!) but it is a place where I get suggestions. Another place is the review publications like Booklist and Library Journal, Goodreads, and of course blogs like yours. Sorry for rambling, but you did ask… 🙂

  5. I choose my next read based on a couple of factors. First whether or not the library owns what I am currently reading. If it does then I grab the next one on the shelf. Second I pick up the book for my book group because that is a must read. Third, if both these options fail to deliver a book I take something off my personal shelf based on what Amazon wants to sell me. I am in the process of re-alphabetizing my bookshelves by author’s last name so I just take the next book that way and rearrange my bookshelves. Oh, and if Amazon wants to sell me a movie or CD then I read a magazine .

  6. Well…I happen to be a list-making person myself. I check out the list and try to find some variety in time period, fiction vs. nonfiction, etc. Then I schedule my blog reviews for the month. That way, I know what my next book(s) will be…at least until the end of the month!

    1. Thats nice Lindsey! I tried to use a calendar for that, trying to mix books that are relevant to what is going on in the world (such as Titanic books for this 100th anniversary) and scheduling books to be reviewed before release date.

      Unfortunately for me… life always seems to happen and suddenly I am looking at my calendar and realizing that book I wanted to read and review right before release date has come and gone and now I have two more on the horizon and never did read anything on the Titanic. 😛

      I need your organizational skills. Send them over. UPS please 😀

  7. I tend to pick books with topics I enjoy…and that includes the review books, because I won’t accept books I don’t think I can enjoy on some level. Occasionally I will get an unsolicited book…

    I have expanded the numbers of genres I will read to include some YA, fantasy, and historical fiction, even though those aren’t my first choices. I like contemporary fiction that deals with social issues, family dynamics, etc. And I like mysteries and thrillers. But I do want to explore other genres. Since blogging, I’ve even read some paranormal books and a sampling of urban noir.

    When I’m in a bookstore, I’ll pick up a book because of the title, cover, and flap blurb. I also choose books by authors I’ve enjoyed in the past.

    Nowadays, I mostly pick books I’ve “met” on blogs and read about, including reviews of the books.

    I just hope to eventually read all the books I already own…and I’m making great progress on those.

    1. I am that way too Laurel when it comes to reviews being offered for books that are “mmm…. maybe I will like it”, I no longer have time for the maybe books so it needs to relaly peek my interest. I know I do not always choose wisely, and I know I ocassionally pass on one that wwhen I see the positive reviews come in regret that I passed on it but thats life and I am not beyond buying a book that I passed on to read at a later date. 😀

  8. I look for a book that sparks something in me. There are millions of books that I could easily skip because they don’t light that spark but there are plenty that do and I’m trying to fit them all in.

    1. I agree Jenners, these days books have about 50 pages to grab me… if I feel like skimming beyond that point it is probably going to be a pass. I have been learning that about myself as of this past year that I do want to be grabbed by a book early on…. I cant take 100+ pages of background “getting to know the scene” story very often anymore. 😀

  9. Oh what a question! I too have plenty of books on my shelves, in boxes, on my Kindle and on Nook on my Tablet. Not to mention a box of audiobooks and a dozen or so unread in my Audible library! Of course the review books come first and in between I squeeze the Audible books and occasionally one from my TBR piles. I actually have a current reading “plan” so that I have a mix each month of 14 to 16 books. Even for review I still have to “pick” and choose. I usually see a blurb before a cover so the description has to catch my attention. I have certain authors I love but even that can’t decide alone because if I only read authors I love I wouldn’t get to new ones. I would say now that I lean to certain genres, (dystopia, sci fi action, inspirational, still some romance but less than before) and suspense and humor will get my attention. That still leaves a braod field doesn’t it. 🙂

    1. You sound like me Martha, I love reading all over the board! I like synopsis’s but I have to see the cover (I know… thats awful but true). If the cover isnt in the pitch they send me I Google it to find it…

  10. My next read always depend on my mood. If I’m feeling a bit “smart”, I pick up essays or nonfiction of some sort. If I’m feeling guilty about my ARCs, I pick up a review copy. A lot of what drives me to pay attention to certain books are blogger recommendations. If I read a great review about a book, I will definitely add it to my tbr list (1000+) When I’m feeling nostalgic, I pick up a re-read from a special time in my life.

    The problem with so many books being published is that many will never see the light of mainstream media or even a small fraction of blogs. So we’ll never know about many of them until years later or if ever. I like to look at this as a challenge to find well-written but less-known books to read.

  11. Hmmm…I am embarrassed to admit that lately, I’ve been letting the random number generator select books for me. With several hundred unread books in the house, and all of them being books I want to read, it was getting too difficult to choose. I usually have one audio, one e-galley or e-book, a classic, and one more random novel going at the same time. I do mix up which category from which I want to read – those I’ve purchased, those I received for review, those I picked up at trade shows, etc. It isn’t the ideal situation but it works for me!

  12. There are untold zillions of unread books in my personal library. I’ve gotten so dreadful at choosing from among so many great options that whenever I’m not reading something obligatory, I use random.org and my LibraryThing listing to choose something for me. It’s actually pretty effective and keeps me from wasting a lot of time trying to pick “just the right book” for the moment which can sometimes take more time than actually *reading* a book because there are about 50 books that I wish I was reading *right now,* and choosing is nearly impossible when they *all* look so good!

    1. I hear you there… I pace back and forth looking at my shelves… whats next whats next….. and I try to watch release dates, time on the shelf…. seriously, if I just get a magic Genie that can do all that for me 😀

  13. I know what you mean! Last weekend I filled out my May calendars with the review books I said I would read and found that my adult book blog was empty. I had a moment of panic because now I had to choose and had over 1000 books on the stack to choose from. I decided to concentrate my search on the top of my entertainment center and picked two hardcover books by authors that I have loved in the past. If they don’t work for me, and I am more than willing to set them down if they don’t grab me in the first fifty pages, there are about 100 more of their friends in that location! I love using the It’s Monday post to plan my reading. I like having a plan!

  14. It’s a question of access. There might be over 100,000,000 books in the world, but some of us have access to a tiny, infinitesimal amount of those. My shelf has about 12 books on it and I won’t be in a city with a bookstore until somewhere around Christmas. I make due by borrowing and lending books to the dozen or so other English speaking people who live in my town, but I’m often desperate. The Kindle makes it much easier but I’m still not choosing from the “big pot.” I read what happens to be accessible to me at any time. It’s good because I get to read things I would otherwise never read but it’s bad because I have to read things I would otherwise never read.

    1. Wow Ryan you bring up some excellent points I had not considered. Being in an area where I can drive 10 minutes to a book store I had not considered that there are areas that can not. Excellent points. Where do you live Ryan?

      1. In a small town on the east coast of Taiwan. Taiwan itself has loads of English books, but you’d have to live in a major urban area to find them. I’m 3.5 hours away from Taipei (via train) and therefore cut off from books in a serious way. In a way, my life is a reading challenge.

  15. When it comes to buying books, usually they just catch my eye, sometimes it’s the title, or cover, maybe a line that’s written on the back or front cover. Otherwise, when I’m looking for books I look for a few things; the description, if I’ve read the author before or even if I like the cover (I know that one is wrong). Sometimes I buy books because I’ve seen them on someone’s blog. I’m really really bad at trends. Or at least I think I am.

    When it comes to actually sitting down and reading the books I have… I too have hundreds of books I have unread, I’ll spend days maybe even weeks trying to figure out what I want to read next. Usually I’m just forced to pick a random book off my shelf and read it even if the genre isn’t what I’m in the mood for.

  16. I usually pick books by whether or not they sound interesting to me. If the back blurb does peak my interest in some way then it’s almost a sure thing that I won’t read it. Covers play a small role-who doesn’t love a good cover?-but they are not the ultimate deciding factor.
    As for which book I’ll read next….I read books I HAVE to get finished for review first. Then I have a list of all the books I own and need to read and I use random.org to figure out which is next. It’s actually pretty fun and since I’m trying to finish all the books I own it doesn’t really matter which order!

      1. I’ve found myself doing the same thing-if the cover is awful I’ll probably not pick up the book to check it out unless I recognize the author.

  17. I don’t pick based on the popularity of a novel, never have. Before the internet… I used to visit the bookstore and look at the shelves, drinking in every title. I want to learn while reading, and the writing style is important to me. I do have favorite authors (from chick-lit to more serious/literary genres)….

  18. You’re so right — so many books, and no way will we ever catch up! I recently scoured my bookcase to donate books that have been languishing there unread for a few years, and I’ve gotten much pickier about what I buy, accept for review, etc. If it’s not something I want to read right now, I generally pass. I figure a novel that really grabs my attention and begs to be read will definitely come along!

    In terms of choosing my very next read, I’m sort of weird . . . I guess I linger in front of my shelves and wait for one to “speak to me.” Sometimes I’m in the mood for historical fiction, say, and am interested in reading something set in Japan. Other times I’m stressed at work or something and just want a light, quick read. I don’t really have a method to my madness beyond that, though I do tend to favor review books these days because I feel I’m so perpetually far behind. But I’m not letting that bug me! The books shall all be read . . . someday. 🙂

    1. Hi Meg! I have been getting better at donating as well. And I have added a little assistance to my reviews in the past week that I will be sharing more on that yet this week. Something I should have done a long time ago. 😀

      I like your “linger” way of choosing. I really should try that! I usually have two or three going at once, a lighter one… a heavier one, and a classic (I just want to be able to say I read the classics…LOL)

  19. I go with my mood. I am a mood reader. While I might set out to finish up a certain series, I definitely will have a “squirrel” moment and choose something totally different. This happens because of all the great reviews I read and recommendations I get. I always try to remind myself to choose what I want to read at that moment, not because I set out to accomplish one thing. I want to be happy reading because I will get more read that way!!

    1. Series freak me out a bit (especially if they are over three books) as I dont know if I want to get hooked and committed when there is so much I want to read out there. That is so sad… I have squirrel moments too and a book I take off the shelf to read may sit on my table for a week (or two…) and eventually go back on the shelf because I never got to it no matter how well my intentions are. 😀

      You are right – we need to be happy readers. 😀

  20. This just proves that there’s a book out there for everyone and that I will never run out of great books to read. At the same time, it is a little dperessing that there are SO MANY books because I’ll never get a chance to read all of the books I want to!

  21. ok, I’m a little bit weird when it comes to reading my next book. Wheni buy a book it goes straight to the bottom of my TBR pile, which currently is massive, around 350 books! I read my oldest book first off my shelf first and then the new books go to the end of the shelves. I only do this so that i actually read the books i own!

    1. Wow! I like the plan but isnt that hard to not read the book you really really want to? At 350 books is that a two year wait? I am fascinated by this! 😛 I know I would never be strong enough…. I would cheat. 😯

      1. Yeah i do try not to think of it like that though! I do try and make myself wait but sometimes it is difficult. I think I’m going to do my own blog post like this to try and explain it if you dont mind me borrowing your idea 🙂

  22. Lately I’ve been reading review commitments and will have to continue doing so until I get caught up but then I’m digging into my tbr pile. When it comes to audio’s it depends on what my library purchases and offer online. I usually grab everything new that remotely interests me and fill up my Ipod and read them in alphabetical order by author (otherwise I’d never remember which ones I hadn’t read yet).

  23. Great question!

    I quit buying books for myself years ago – for both financial and clutter reasons! And I only accept kid/teen/YA books for review because it is part of my freelance writing job. So, those help to cut down on the towers of books in the house (though there are still towers!)

    First, I belong to two book groups and sometimes take part in the one at the library, so that helps me to get to some of the latest reads.

    I have a very full TBR bookshelf, plus too many stacks of kids/teen books waiting to be read. I like to alternate between grown-up books and kid/teen books.

    And, then I just go by my mood – I don’t like to plan ahead because I love that moment when you have finished one book and can choose your next!

    Of course, I still have a TBR list hundreds long and growing…


  24. I used to be a browser at the library–go wander my favorite sections once a week and see what jumped out at me. Then I started reading book blogs, and built up a To Be Read list, and joined reading challenges… I still go to the library every week, but now I look at my TBR list and my Challenge notes and decide what “feels” right that week, put two or three on reserve at the library, and go pick up whatever has come in by Saturday. It’s more efficient and it’s a lot more focused. I’m not sure I actually read better books, but I do anticipate my reading more–and I feel more like I’m accomplishing something when I can check books off of my (several) lists!

  25. OK-I’m a little shallow. LOTS of times I pick a book based on the cover or title without even reading the back of the book! And then lots of times I choose a book based on my mood-do I want something light to read? Suspenseful? Something to make me cry? (I do tend to choose those types of books a lot!) And sometimes I just choose a book because it is not a long one. I just need a short book to read and not really get wrapped up in. 🙂

    I’m all over the place aren’t I? Is there a name for this condition?????


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